Opening the door, Max climbed in, waiting until Gabi had climbed in and started the engine before answering.
"You can call me Max," She considered her options. They needed somewhere public enough so that Gabi didn't feel threatened, yet private enough that they could have a conversation without being overheard - at least not by anyone other than Lex and Logan.
"There's an all night diner I know, I'll give you directions..." It had occurred to her that she might not be the only one under surveillance. Anthony Luca was a control freak, and Gabriella seemed to be a trophy wife - for all she knew, there could be a bug or a tracker in Gabi's car.
"Does Tony always keep tabs on you?"
"He used to, now he figures I'm too scared of him to do anything wrong!" Gabi smiled sadly. "Mostly he's right, but not right now, I don't know why..."
Actually she was fairly sure she did know, the idiot sisters upcoming wedding, removed a large portion of the power Tony had over her, but not all of it.
"So, direct me."
"Go left," Max directed, not quite ready to trust that the car wasn't bugged, despite the fact that Gabriella didn't seem to think that it was.
"Yeah, he seems like a real charming guy," Max said with quiet sarcasm. She looked over at Gabriella sympathetically, "Somehow I'm gettin' the impression that leaving the bastard is outta the question. Take this turn comin' up on the right."
Gabriella took the directed turn before answering.
"If I'm OK with him killing everyone I ever cared about, spoke to that time, or thought about once, then yeah, I can leave him."
Once if she'd have said those words they would have come out in a snarl, now, they were just tired.
"I'm sorry, you don't need to know this."
"Or, y'know, you." Max said quietly, "'Cause hey, it wouldn't be the first time he's made a pretty young woman just... Disappear."
She let the words hang on the air for a moment, studying Gabrielle, "Take this left."
Gabi flinched slightly, and took the turn.
"I am aware of the risk to myself, and to others, why do you think I lied to get you out of there?"
She sighed "He won't take that well, so I can't be out long!"
"Okay," Max nodded, "Got time for a cup of coffee? I saw him knockin' back his painkillers with scotch, so he's probably pretty out of it by now..."
Gabriella nodded. "He does that a lot, he'll be out of it for a while, and then angry, but I have a while, I suppose, so are we here?"
She kept on driving but glanced out of her window.
"Yeah," Max nodded to an empty parking space, "You can pull over here, it's not far..."
Max would rather walk the last block anyway, just in case there was a tracker planted in Gabi's spider.
Gabi pulled the car over sharply, got out and waited for her companion to leave before hitting the button on the keys for the central locking and alarm, and following Max.
"So, what did you want to talk with me about then?"
She had to ask, even though she knew.
"Well Gabriella, I'm gonna be straight with you now, 'cause I figure, if nothin' else, you have a right to know..."
Max turned the corner and started walking toward the diner, "A few weeks ago, a friend of mine was attacked by your husband and a few of his pals. She managed to get away from him, but we did a little diggin' around, and as it turns out, it's lookin' more and more like this isn't the first time it's happened - not by a long shot."
Gabriella looked sharply at Max, before responding more smoothly than the gesture gave her leave to.
"I am aware that there was an altercation, commend your friend on her knife throwing skills...and warn her to get out of the city. I try to stop it as often as I can, but on that occasion I was in no shape to intervene."
Max studied the mobsters wife, her eyes showing sympathy.
"He beat up on you, girl?" Her voice was gentle, but she didn't look away when she asked the intrusive question.
Gabi swallowed, but kept talking, her voice soft, "While he's hitting me he can't hit them... and worse..."
She tore her gaze from Max's and stared at her pale hands
"You're just as trapped as they are," Max said with simple understanding.
She pulled open the door to the diner and led the way to a booth in the back corner, near the back exit and slid into the side which gave her the best vantage point to the room.
"What'll it be tonight, girls?" The matronly waitress eyed them curiously, their elegant evening wear conspicuous in the simple setting of the diner.
"Just black coffee for me, please," Max smiled at her politely.
Nodding, the waitress looked at Gabriella enquiringly.